What Is A Situationship And How Do You Know If You’re In One?

While a situationship sounds like a dream for those who fear or avoid commitment, it’s a pretty frustrating place to be in when you’re looking for a real relationship. Plenty of people are in this kind of non-relationship without even realizing it, and realizing it is the first step to getting out. So what is a situationship and how do you know if you’re in one?

  1. What is a situationship? A situationship is a low-key, undefined arrangement that basically looks like a relationship without commitment. It’s when two people casually see each other without any commitment from either end. While some people enjoy being in situationships because they allow you to enjoy some of the benefits of being in a relationship without the emotional energy, many people would like their situationships to turn into real relationships.
  2. How do you know if you’re in a situationship? Since a situationship isn’t a relationship and it’s also not a “friends with benefits” situation, it can be tricky to define. The best way to know if you’re in one is to simply look for the signs. They’ll suggest that what you have is not a relationship, but is more than a “friends with benefits” thing.
  3. There are no relationship milestones. One of the clearest signs that you’re in a situationship is that you won’t experience any relationship milestones. You know the ones: defining the relationship, meeting each other’s parents, exchanging keys, moving in together, engagements, etc. Situationships tend not to progress forward like that. Rather, they’re stagnant. They can be frustrating for people who are looking for more because they don’t move forward.
  4. You’re not exclusive. In the majority of relationships, exclusivity is a given. But situationships aren’t exclusive. Most people in a situationship don’t even feel like they have to tell the other person that they’re dating other people. And they don’t consider it cheating because there’s no commitment to begin with. While some relationships can be open, this is normally talked about. People in open relationships also put boundaries in place to work out what they’re comfortable with. But with dating other people in a situationship, you don’t even consider the other person’s feelings. Most of the time, you don’t feel like you owe them anything.
  5. There are no labels. This one’s pretty obvious. “Situationship” is a term recently coined, but these kinds of relationships tend not to have labels. The person in the situationship with you won’t claim you as their girlfriend or boyfriend. And you won’t have the “what are we” talk. Rather, your relationship will just exist without any clear labels or boundaries.

What does it mean to be in a situationship?

  1. You don’t integrate into each other’s lives. People in situationships tend not to integrate into each other’s lives. As in, they don’t often meet each other’s friends and family. They don’t always bring each other as dates to events—one of the benefits of being in a relationship. And they don’t consider each other as being significantly present in one another’s lives. Their relationship matters only when they’re actually with each other. Otherwise, they aren’t linked in any other way.
  2. There’s no routine. Situationships usually don’t follow any specific routine. Many relationships operate around routines. For example, couples have their designated date night. They have patterns and schedules that they work out in order to bring their lives together. But situationships are much more casual than that. The two people tend to see each other whenever it works and there’s no real consistency.
  3. Your plans are all last-minute. When you’re in a situationship, your plans together are often made at the very last minute. You aren’t each other’s priority like a real couple would be. So you only see each other when you have nothing else on. In a situationship, it’s also more acceptable to cancel at the last minute if something better comes up. Behavior that would be unacceptable or disrespectful in a relationship is accepted in a situationship because there’s no commitment.
  4. You don’t talk about the future. People in situationships tend not to talk about the future. As their arrangement is casual and stagnant, they may shy away from conversations that come close to defining what they are or where they’re going. If one person wants to turn the situationship into a real relationship, they may try bringing up the future. But if the other person likes things how they are, they won’t want to have that conversation.
  5. There are no deep conversations. It’s not just the future that people in situationships don’t talk about. People in this kind of relationship often don’t have any deep conversations at all. That’s because what they have isn’t about connecting on an emotional level. Instead, everything remains very superficial, including their conversations.
  6. But there’s more connection than a “friends with benefits” relationship. That all said, people in situationships do tend to connect more than those in a strictly “friends with benefits” relationship. A relationship like this is purely about the physical connection. Friends with benefits might not discuss anything other than their physical relationship. On the other hand, people in situationships do have other conversations. They do hang out sometimes like couples do. But they don’t get deep or intimate like couples do.

Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including Hotsprings.co and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.